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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona WBB falls to No. 9 UCLA

Guard+Jada+Williams+pushes+through+Cals+defense+on+Jan.+28+in+McKale+Center.+Arizona+women%E2%80%99s+basketball+lost+to+Stanford+96-64.%0A
Caroline Bailey
Guard Jada Williams pushes through Cal’s defense on Jan. 28 in McKale Center. Arizona women’s basketball lost to Stanford 96-64.

The Arizona women’s basketball team traveled to California to face UCLA on Friday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. The Wildcats, coming off completing their season sweep of ASU on Sunday, Feb. 4, began to finally start forming some semblance of consistency given their current roster situation.

However, in this matchup against the Bruins, despite keeping the game close until the final quarter, UCLA came out victorious defeating the Wildcats 66-58. Arizona (12-11, 4-7 in Pac-12) is now 1-6 in its games against ranked opponents this season. The Wildcats have also dropped their sixth straight road game after Friday night’s loss.

First Half

The Wildcats faced a challenging start against the Bruins as UCLA’s Lauren Betts returned to the court after missing the last four games. She made a notable impact with 6 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and two steals. The Wildcats also struggled to contain UCLA’s perimeter shooters, allowing Gabriela Jaquez and Kiki Rice to lead the Bruins in scoring with 21 and 20 points, respectively.

Kailyn Gilbert entered the game in the second quarter, making her presence felt in only 16 minutes of action. She contributed 14 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal for the Wildcats. However, Esmery Martinez led the offensive output for the Wildcats, coming close to a double-double with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Second Half

UCLA’s dominance extended into the second half as they opened the quarter with a 9-0 run, expanding their lead to 40-32. Jaquez’s 3-point efficiency further opened up opportunities for the Bruins, complicating Arizona’s defensive efforts. The Wildcats faced foul troubles, with Breya Cunningham fouling out in 15 minutes. Despite these challenges, Arizona fought back, but UCLA always seemed to have an answer, maintaining a 48-43 lead after three quarters.

Helena Pueyo was the third and last Wildcat in double figures on the night, scoring 10 points with four rebounds, two assists, one block and two steals.

In the fourth quarter, Arizona made a late push, pulling within 3 points at 52-49. However, UCLA responded with a 7-0 run, securing a 59-49 lead. The Bruins’ defensive efforts and consistent scoring thwarted Arizona’s comeback attempts. It also didn’t help that the Wildcats had a poor shooting performance, hitting 19 of 57 of their shots and going 2 of 10 from the 3-point line. Meanwhile, the Bruins hit 40.4% of their shots and went 7 for 17 from beyond the arc. Arizona was also missing four players and simply could not withstand the Bruins’ offense, ultimately falling 66-58, marking another conference and ranked loss.

Looking ahead: 

The Wildcats will remain in California to face another ranked opponent, No. 10 USC, on Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in Galen Center. Arizona will look to get its second win of the season against a ranked opponent and split its games in Los Angeles before returning back to Tucson later in the week.


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